Here at Miriam Baker, we’re more than a little obsessed with boobs.
Of course, great boobs need a great bra.
Full-busted or not, a well-fitting bra can make or break an outfit, and sometimes your entire day!
To learn how to choose one that’s both comfortable and flattering we sat down with bra expert extraordinaire Amie Heenan, owner of Melmira Bras & Swimsuits in Toronto.
Founded in 1992, this family-run business is on a mission to shift women’s mindsets when it comes to their relationship with their bodies by offering personalized fittings.
Do I Really Need To Get A Fitting?
Amie Heenan: Women’s bodies change throughout the course of their lives so I recommend getting a good fitting every year. It’s the best way to find out what shape works best for you. Bras are all different and depending on the style and even the colour, you could be five different sizes.
At Melmira our fitters train for three months. They’re incredibly knowledgeable about what’s current and what different body types need. They’re also good listeners! We work one on one with our clients and before anything happens we ask a lot of questions. A 15-year-old has different needs from someone who just has a baby.
Most women are wearing bras that are too big in the band and too small in the cup. To make the cup fit women often make the mistake of choosing a bra with a bigger back. A 36 D, which typically fits a petite woman, can be translated into a 34 DD or 32 DDD. At our fittings, we often put women down two sizes in the back and up to two sizes in the cup.
What Exactly Happens At A Bra Fitting?
AH: Our role is to offer advice and to educate women about bras. A good fitting takes at least 30 minutes. Our fitters don’t use a measuring tape. We ask you to lift your arms and we feel your rib cage over your clothes. We also look at your bust line and at the projection of the breast. Then we go to the stock room and pull a bra we’d like you to start with and ask a lot of questions: How are you feeling? What feels comfortable and what doesn’t?
After we’ve explained a few things, we bring you four or five more bras. It’s good to have an idea of your budget. Sometimes we’ll show a woman up to 20 bras! We work with a customer until she’s happy. At the end of fitting we write down what you loved and what fitted well and we keep your history on file for when you come back.
How Can I Tell If A Bra Is a Good Quality (or Not)?
AH: There are a lot of cheap bras out there! It really comes down to the fabric and the integrity of the brand. Stretchy fabrics may look comfortable but are generally not very supportive. If a bra is totally seamless with no boning or seam on the side, it will probably roll on your body, be uncomfortable, and very likely fall apart.
A good quality bra can cost anywhere from $80 to $250. Buying quality can change your life and it saves you money in the long run because the bra lasts longer. Once you’ve worn a good quality bra, it’s hard to go back.
What Are Some Good Quality Brands For Full-Busted Women?
AH: Panache from England is great. British lines tend to be lower priced for women on a budget. They range from $60 to $90.
PrimaDonna is a public Belgian company that’s top of the line for new technologies and innovations. It’s very comfortable and they offer a huge selection.
(Our eponymous founder Miriam Baker swears by this brand!)
French company Empreinte specializes mostly in smaller frames and fuller bust lines. They make the strongest underwires on the market and use lightweight fabrics like tulle (a non-stretch lace) that lifts the breasts without needing seams. They make a great t-shirt bra!
Can Full-Busted Bras Be Fashionable?
AH: Yes! Why do women think a well-fitting bra has to be ugly? You can have fun with your lingerie wardrobe and get the perfect figure. The right lace bra can be fashionable and functional. A red bra is the perfect neutral because it disappears under white, black is sexy and also very practical. Even if no one sees it, it’s your best-kept secret. I really encourage women to explore that.
Bras are the foundation of your wardrobe!
You should have different shapes for different outfits. When you have a well-fitted bra that’s both beautiful and compliments your figure, you’ve got it all!
Is Padding Ever OK For Full-Busted Women?
AH: Most of the time full-busted women ask for padding or moulded cups (as we call them) because they want discreetness, but there are many other better solutions like nipple covers, well-placed seams or tulle fabric that flattens the nipples.
The drawback to moulded or padded cups is that they don’t have a lot of flexibility so they force you to conform to the bra. Non-moulded cups adapt to your body and give you the most uplift so we recommend this instead. You need something that will adapt to you and isn’t cutting in anywhere.
Help! I Need A REALLY Good Strapless Bra!
AH: A lot of full-busted women think they can’t wear strapless but things have evolved and changed with new technologies and designs. There are some really wonderful ones on the market now.
A moulded cup is actually helpful in a strapless bra because it holds better and helps keep you up.
One we sell and love for fuller busts is the Divine by PrimaDonna.
Can A Good Bra Change Your Life?
AH: It showcases a beautiful body! If you’re full-busted, you probably have a smaller waist, which is very feminine. The right bra defines the waist and lengthens the torso.
The Charley Dress will highlight your beautiful bust-to-waist ratio
Full-busted women in North America often try to look smaller by wearing minimizers. Unfortunately, all this does is flatten the breast. You end up looking fuller and even more busty.
A well-fitting bra lifts the breast, pulls you forward and makes you stand taller. It’s much more flattering. When we get women in a bra that fits, it makes them feel beautiful and their confidence just shines.
Miriam Baker is proud to bring you this blog post. We design clothes for women with fuller busts in the heart of downtown Toronto. If you would like to learn more about the brand and the designer behind it, read Meet the Designer for more insight, or sign up to our newsletter for new drops, offers and events. Please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org with any stories of your own that are pertinent to our mission or connect with us on Facebook and Instagram. We would love to hear from you!